Social Network Spotlight: Facebook

Facebook is a social network veteran and, while originally only available to college students, has since opened its doors to many others from grade school students to senior citizens. With over 1 billion monthly active users, it’s important to stay on top of the collection of bells and whistles users can access on Facebook.

Pros

  • One of the best available ways to stay in touch with friends and family.
  • With such a large user base, there’s a good chance you can connect with anyone.
  • Although it requires digging around quite a bit, Facebook can be locked down and kept rather secure.
  • Public groups can be a great way to connect with like-minded people.
  • Educators are using Facebook to stay connected with students.
  • If properly managed, Facebook is an excellent tool for teaching students about Digital Citizenship.
  • Posts can contain a variety of content and media, providing students with a great way to express creativity.

Cons

  • Privacy settings are difficult to understand and hard to maintain.
  • Due to the large user base, it’s easy for strangers to locate Facebook users.

  • Public Facebook groups created by users can contain wildly inappropriate content.
  • Content posted by others is an open invitation to the rest of the internet, which may be inappropriate to minors and offensive to others.

  • Facebook is expansive. Students can waste valuable time.
  • Once something is posted on Facebook—or the internet in general—it should be considered permanently public. This could be harmful to students posting regrettable material.

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Tips for educators

  • Make sure to stay aware of news regarding privacy policies and changes.
  • If all of the students content is kept to their friends’ lists, make sure their lists contains only people they know personally.

  • Public Facebook groups can be inappropriate places. You’re able to view group activity on the left tab of the home page.
  • Facebook can be an excellent tool for educators. Students are going to be using Facebook, so being innovative and bringing education to them can be very beneficial.

Wrap Up

There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you are a Facebook user. Facebook, like many other social networks, can be used inappropriately. With the amount of ongoing innovation, it’s beneficial to stay on top of Facebook, both as an educator and as a likely user yourself. Although sometimes overwhelming to manage, with proper understanding, Facebook can be a relatively secure and safe place for students, as well as teachers, to interact.